“In the not too distant future,” one can hope that Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) will return to the airwaves and start making fun of all new movies that are horrible (maybe Gigli will be at the top of their list?) but until then, fans of the show will have to content themselves with the DVD box sets and what they can find online. Both YouTube and Google Video have an extensive holding of MST3K episodes, but only Google Video has them unbroken and complete (the episodes on YouTube are broken up into smaller videos (I guess YouTube has size constraints), so you have to click through them to find the next installment which can be annoying). So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 best Mystery Science Theater 3000 offerings on Google Video:
10. Revenge of the Creature (1955). Directed by: Jack Arnold. Starring: John Agar, Lori Nelson and John Bromfield.Revenge of the Creature was an ill-advised sequel to The Creature of the Black Lagoon that has scientists traveling to the Black Lagoon in the Amazon to capture the creature and bring him back to an aquarium in south Florida. Apparently, these scientists did not realize that these sorts of schemes never work; it didn’t work in Jaws 3-D and it doesn’t work here. The initial host segment in this Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, which has Mike, Tom, and Crow discovering themselves orbiting the Planet of the Apes is overly long, but their drubbing of Revenge of the Creature is well worth the wait.
9. Night of the Blood Beast (1958). Directed by: Bernard L. Kowalski. Starring: John Baer, Angela Greene and Ed Nelson. An astronaut returns to Earth dead and his ship is covered in some strange … what is it exactly? … Moss, goo, a rug, chocolate syrup? Who knows? All one does know is that soon people start dying and hilari- I mean … horror ensues. However, even more so than the confusion that Mike, Joel and Crow have over which researcher at the military base is named Steve is the short movie that begins this episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode. “Once Upon a Honeymoon” is a short film that advertises, what exactly I don’t know, though it seems to have something to do with phones, a temperamental ballerina, and angels who make “matches made in heaven.” “Once Upon a Honeymoon” is, without a doubt, the funniest short ever on Mystery Science Theater 3000 since “Mr. B Natural” (which can also be found at Google Video, by the way).
8. Zombie Nightmare (1986). Directed by: Jack Bravman. Starring: Adam West, Jon Mikl Thor and Tia Carrere. Adam West. The name conjures up so much. Batman in grey and blue tights dancing the “Batusi” and fighting (BOP! POW! BIFF!) such villains as Louie the Lilac, The Bookworm and Egghead. However, what we have here, is Adam West as the sleaziest cop this side of the The Shield trying to solve the brutal murders of a group of “no good teenagers” (Tia Carrere among them) who were involved in a hit and run. Add a zombie and some of the strangest voodoo ceremonies ever performed in North America and you have one of the darkest and funniest episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to grace the small screen.
7. Lost Continent (1951). Directed by: Sam Newfield. Starring: Cesar Romero, John Hoyt and Hugh Beaumont. This was the first episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 that I ever saw. It was on Comedy Central, it was 1995 and it got my brother, my mother and I hooked. Revel in the DEEP HURTING as Joel, Tom and Crow sit through hours of exciting and thrilling … rock climbing! Delight in the dinosaurs that are iguanas with cardboard frills and animated clay models that look like something from a first-grade art class. Feel the DEEP HURTING as “Monkey Boy” takes his lumps. This is one of Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s best and brightest, and it’s only number seven, so imagine what the next six have in store!
6. Samson v. the Vampire Women (1962). Directed by: Alfonso Corona Blake. Starring: Samson the Silver Maskman, Lorena Velázquez and Augusto Benedico. A Mexican professor hires a Mexican wrestler to protect his daughter from a coven of vampire women who want to make her their queen. Confused yet? You have no idea the depths of confusion that will arise from this episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. That, plus the vampires are no better than “cheap thugs” and karate chop their victims before biting them and this piece of awful offal is rife for satire as Mike, Tom and Crow show.
5. Master Ninja I (1984). Directed by Michael Sloan. Starring: Lee Van Cleef, Timothy Van Patten and Demi Moore. Lee Van Cleef (of Paint Your Wagon fame) stars as the only Westerner ever to be made a ninja. Timothy Van Patten (of White Shadow infamy) stars as the only Westerner ever to be beaten up on a minute-by-minute basis. Demi Moore … well … Demi Moore just stars, though I guess you could use that term loosely, since what the brains behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 have done is take the pilot and second episode of the ill-fated TV show Master Ninja (a.k.a The Master) and smashed them together for this playful romp through America looking for Van Cleef’s daughter and getting beat up by every Asian stereotype you can imagine.
4. Werewolf (1996). Directed by Tony Zarindast. Starring: Federico Cavalli, Adrianna Mills and Joe Estevez. A Southwestern Native American werewolf skeleton is discovered by archeologists from an undetermined European country. One of the native diggers becomes infected (after falling? on the skeleton) and goes on a killing spree. The main character – introduced after almost thirty minutes – also becomes infected (after being hit on the head with the werewolf skull?) and also goes on a killing spree. Best scenes in this Mystery Science Theater 3000: watch for the werewolf-security guard trying to drive home and then stick around for the end credits … best scene of the film, in more ways than one. Oh, did I mention that it also stars Joe Estevez, Martin Sheen’s doughy, less famous brother? Well … it does.
3. Space Mutiny (1988). Directed by David Winters and Neal Sundstrom. Starring: Reb Brown, John Phillip Law and Cissy Cameron. Reb Brown plays Rick Strongjaw, Dirk Crotchkick, Slab Beefchest and a whole host of other names that Mike, Tom and Crow come up with on a spaceship headed for parts of the universe unknown and captained by … Santa Claus and Sting!? You have to see it to believe it. Really … you do.
2. Santa Claus (1959). Directed by René Cardona. Starring: José Elías Moreno, Cesáreo Quezadas and José Luis Aguirre. In another Mystery Science Theater 3000, Santa fought Martians bent on bringing the joy of Christmas to Mars. In this outing, Santa Claus battles Satan who is intent on bringing evil and darkness to the world. Yes, you read that right, what this episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 boils down to is Santa v. Satan; and not just any Santa, but a Santa who lives in a golden castle on the moon, has wind-up mechanical reindeer and has a sweatsh- I mean … workshop full of multinational children who do his bidding.
1. Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966). Directed by Hal Warren. Starring: Hal Warren, Tom Neyman and John Reynolds. Oh, what can I say about Manos: Hands of Fate? This is perhaps the single worst movie that has been made and ended up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 that does not have the words “Directed by Ed Wood” in the titles. Family goes driving, gets lost and ends up at the Brigadoon-from-Hell Hotel where Torgo serves The Master who looks like Frank Zappa on a bad day. This is shoe-string-budget-exploitation theater at its absolute worst and I, for one, am thankful that Hal Warren tried to make this film, because it makes for one of the best drubbings that Joel, Tom and Crow have done on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
So, turn down the lights, were applicable, pop a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy some of the cheesiest movies this side of Plan 9 from Outer Space.